JSA is a likely option for US-NK summit: S. Korean official

Moon Jae-in Xi Jinping

Moon Jae-in Xi Jinping

USA national security adviser H.R. McMaster said on Monday that Washington is optimistic about an opportunity for President Donald Trump to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un but is determined to keep up pressure on Pyongyang to denuclearize. Trump's announcement has raised speculation about whether the meeting will actually go ahead, what North Korea will demand from the USA and even where the two leaders might meet.

It is finally happening, US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will be meeting face-to-face in May after months of exchange of threats, including the deployment of nuclear weapons against each other's territories, and months of bellicose posturing that brought the world to the brink of a nuclear war.

"It is expected that there will be more rapid progress regarding the freezing and dismantling of the North Korean nuclear program than in the past, as the leaders of the USA and North Korea will meet directly this time", he said.

Speaking after meeting Suh, Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono credited recent changes in North Korea's position to increased pressure by worldwide society. Kono said he respects Seoul's efforts in working to make the summits a reality. "Once again, we expect that China will continue to play an active and leading role and the South Korean government will continue to coordinate closely with China". "I believe it can be discussed in the future when Japan and the North negotiate substantial improvement of relations".

"We have not seen nor received an official response from the North Korean regime regarding the North Korea-U.S. summit", said Baik Tae-hyun, spokesman for South Korea's Unification ministry.

US President Donald Trump
GETTYUS President Donald Trump has apparently accepted North Korea's invitation

Chung also told Xi that China's stance that the North Korean nuclear crisis must be resolved primarily between the North and the United States contributed greatly to arranging the Kim-Trump summit.

Trump agreed to meet Kim Jong Un by the end of May and the two Koreas will hold a summit by the end of April.

At the annual press conference held during China's National People's Congress, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi took credit for the Korean Peninsula breakthrough. That doesn't seem to be the case here - this South Korean-brokered meeting has come somewhat out of the blue.

"We may be able to pursue a diplomatic solution to the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula". Last year Washington and Pyongyang traded unusually strong threats - North Korea threatened to strike the U.S. territory of Guam while Trump promised to respond with "fire and fury".

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov plans to meet with Chung, according to Russia's TASS news agency. However, Kim's time in the West is not an officially acknowledged part of his biography and analysts say he may want to avoid drawing attention to that period in socialist and impoverished North Korea.

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